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Announcements could go hand-in-hand
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It is the perfect example of synergy.

Just days after the Effingham County school system found out it was going to be one of the five systems to be awarded a $3 million grant to start a career academy, the Industrial Development Authority announced it was landing the big fish it had been seeking for its parcel fronting Highway 21, Portuguese giant EFACEC.

EFACEC will make electrical transformers at its Rincon plant, which will open in late 2009 or early 2010. That means they will need a trained and ready workforce.

Enter not only the school system’s career academy but also the Effingham campus of the Savannah Technical College. Both those institutions will be right across Highway 21 from EFACEC’s new U.S. home.

For the IDA, Monday’s announcement at the state Capitol, an event significant enough to merit both Gov. Sonny Perdue and the Portuguese ambassador to the U.S., Joao de Vallera, to be on hand.

The IDA worked diligently for weeks and months to lure EFACEC, which is expected to employ as many as 600, at high-paying wages, once they are done.

The county’s investment in the coming industry is paltry compared to what one of its competitors was said to be proposing. Another suitor produced a video to try to lure EFACEC to their county.

EFACEC will get a 20-year holiday on property tax but will have a payment in lieu of taxes to the school system for $180,000 a year. The IDA has managed to swing this deal in the midst of its gigantic contract with DP Partners for the tracts straddling I-16 near Meldrim.

Its mission is to provide for economic growth and job opportunities for Effingham County and its citizens. The EFACEC announcement ought to fill both these needs and then some.

But the workforce capable of filling the hundreds of jobs falls elsewhere, and that’s why the school system’s career academy, a partnership with Savannah Tech, will be important in the years to come. Students in high school now and about to enter high school now can plan on careers before they close their high school books for good and they won’t have to travel to Savannah or elsewhere for good jobs.

It is a perfect storm of growth and opportunity for Effingham County and its citizens, for now and the future.